Tynwald Court
An early start for me with a meeting at home with my CEO from DEFA for a catch up and briefing.
There were 18 items on the order paper with 12 questions for oral answer and 9 for written answer. Only one for me in the oral section from Mr Ashford MHK enquiring what enforcement action is taken where an applicant fails to display Form 1 yellow site form as required and for the specified period (a planning application). I was able to reassure that in the event of the yellow form not being displayed correctly then a planning application is reset and started all over again, which can lead to considerable delay and if discovered after the event this can result in legal action and the decision being quashed.
I was also able to undertake to review the same and in the future as we start an overhaul of the planning system.
The sewage rate increase was agreed after much debate and will be levied at 98p which will result in an average rise of between £8 – £10 per year. Whilst no one welcomes increases I was surprised at the length of debate considering some of the real financial issues that have yet to be addressed.
My colleague Minister Harmer was able to get two Key motions with regard to Strategic Sea Services and their provision passed, which will hopefully move this matter on. I was pleased to see the transparency that DOI have applied to this with release of two substantial reports by third parties.
A motion allowing the Cabinet Office to undertake work in connection with a single resident record was passed this doesn’t mean it will be introduced, this is feasibility and any proposals will come back to Tynwald.
Perhaps most controversial were the Douglas promenade options all the principles were accepted but there was a split vote between Legislative Council and Keys with regard to the provision of twin tracks between Broadway and Summerhill being renewed in their current location. It would appear the Legislative Council favoured an amendment by Mr Cretney to put the tracks along the side of the road with an inevitable loss of parking.
The debate also reassured members that provision within the base of the new road will allow future proofing if it is felt that the link between the sea terminal and war memorial was required in the future.
We will return for a combined vote in January which will pass by majority when I hope DOI will then be in a position to move things forward at long last.
I was also pleased that all the recommendations in the Social Affairs Policy Review Committee report Children and Family Social Services were passed after a lengthy debate. Having been involved on that committee these services need to improve via evolution rather than revolution and this sets the tone.
The final debate with regard to a sugar tax took far too long, with unrealistic expectations by some members that somehow we could unilaterally introduce a sugar tax in the Isle of Man that would solve all our obesity problems paying little heed to the fact that if sugary drinks went up even 20% it represents a few pence per bottle. Not only that but why would people buy locally if they can get a better deal across without customs barriers, how would we stop this traffic? In the end common sense prevailed and we will align ourselves with any tax moves that come about as a result of UK changes at present in process.
Published On: December 15th, 2016 / Categories: Uncategorised /